One of my favorite newsletters has turned 5 recently and now has it’s own online Best Evidence in Brief archive. This is great news!
In the latest issue of this fine newsletter, this study caught my eye:
Peter Tymms and colleagues at Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring conducted a study of 40,000 children in England to examine what impact effective teaching in the first year of school has on achievement at the end of compulsory teaching at age 16.Children’s early reading and math development were measured at the start of school, at age four, using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) assessments. They were assessed again at the end of their first school year and at ages 7, 11, and 16.By assessing children at the beginning and end of their first year, the researchers were able to identify effective classes – defined as a class where children made much larger than average gains from ages 4 to 5, controlling for pretests and poverty level.The study, published in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, found that children who were taught well in their first year of school went on to achieve better GCSE results (GCSEs are high-stakes exams in the UK) in English and math at age 16 (effect size = +0.2). Long-term benefits in achievement were also reported for those children who were in effective classes in Key Stages 1 and 2, however, these were not as large as those seen in the first year of school (Key Stage 1 is the equivalent of kindergarten to first grade in the U.S., and Key Stage 2 is the equivalent of second grade to fifth grade).The study concludes that the first year of school presents an important opportunity to have a positive impact on children’s long-term academic outcomes.